Take It Or Leave It

I am celebrating my third wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife.

And Rob Bell is off his rocker!

In Residence

I just got an email from an old friend of mine who went to a foreign country to follow a call he and his wife had on their lives. He was there for a couple of years and then came back to the States to go on furlough. If you don’t know what a furlough is, its basically a leave of absence from the mission field. In military terms it is to allow someone from the armed forces to get away for a while and rest. In the business sector, furloughs happen because of a lack of work. It’s almost like being laid off.

But in the Missions circuit, furlough is when you leave your post of mission, go to your “home church” and work extra hard at meeting with people to raise more money for your mission and do more work at your “home church” as the “Missionary in Residence.”

This is JACKED UP!!

My friend writes this email with fatigue in his letters, sentences and paragraphs. I got tired as I read his email. And he justified this system because of a scripture reference in Hebrews speaking of a city that God is preparing for the Hall of Faith-ers.

I want to wrap this guy up and give him an “appointment” or “assignment” that requires him to just BE!!

But the system has him. It has asked of him, “Take it or leave it.”

It’s hard to leave it, isn’t it?

I had another conversation recently with a pastor in the greater Nashville area. He is aware of the system. He is aware of the claws in “his church.” He has come to his breaking point by saying these words:

“I want out.”

He has been asked to “Take it or leave it.”

He desperately wants to leave it.

Open-Minded

So, my wife and I celebrate 3 years of marriage on March 27. We’re on a trip to Seattle… the home of the Reformed Theology movement…

That’s not why we came.

Oh sure. I was a band wagon guy for Mark Driscoll. Especially when he cussed in one of his sermons talking about how cowardly men were in their marriages. Yeah!

Wait, what?

On our way out here I was thinking about the guy who drove MD to prepare that sermon series. Perhaps it was a few guys he had encountered in “his church.” I wonder what that guy’s story is. Where is HE from? What environment was HE raised in?

I’ve been in Seattle for about 12 hours. Our hotel person who checked us in at 2:00 AM had masculine and feminine features…all at the same time. Not sure what his name was. He asked us where we were from. We said, “Nashville.” He said that he was from Georgia. He said he would like to move back to the South, but probably wouldn’t. I asked him why.

“They aren’t open-minded.”

The depths of that comment are HUGE!

The South asked him to “Take it or leave it.”

He left it.

Rob Bell’s New Book

What We Talk About When We Talk About God is a book that IMMEDIATELY changed the way I see this hotel clerk, and this pastor, and this missionary, and my wife, and, quite frankly, you.

Sure there are the reviews from disciplined, educated, seminary-trained theologians that would discourage you from opening the book, based off of their perspectives. Some might say that Rob Bell is off his rocker!

They are entitled to their opinions.

However, when someone presents something that is actually proven in science that is a shadow of what you have been experiencing in faith communities for years, and that something in science wasn’t proven until just THIS YEAR, 2013, I’d say that there may be something to this information.

It has the potential to enhance your view of your Creator, of Christ Himself!

I believe this book presents a simple inquisition: “Take it or leave it.”

I fear that most Christians will leave it.

I’d say that Rob Bell is off his rocker as well. I believe he is on Someone else’s rocker though. Chillin. Rockin away with his Lord. Peace is a wonderful attribute to own.

Anniversary

As my wife and I celebrate our 3 years together, we have a refreshed view of Christ. We have a refreshed view of Heaven. We have a refreshed view of the Body of Christ.

You see, Life in Christ is heaven. There is not this distant land we have to wait for. There is not this City we are pursuing or hoping for after death.

We have the opportunity to discover and interact with Heaven on earth. The New Heaven and New Earth will be fascinating, I’m sure. But why miss Heaven here?

There are hotel clerks and missionaries and ministers that need a bit of heaven in their lives. Why not celebrate and express Christ with them? Why not have a coffee with them and let them rest from pouring out into hole-y buckets? Why not pour into them and share the Life you have been given?

South Seattle at nightWe have the opportunity to share our Light with those around us. When we flew into Seattle, we were able to see some of the lights at night from the city.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5 NASB)

What a great shadow of Heaven! On this earth we have the opportunity to shine and share. This light reaches out to those around us. When people around us shine and share, the intensity of the light increases.

And as we live this Life in Christ, people can take it or leave it.

10 comments

  1. jimpuntney · March 26, 2013

    I’ll take it…as an ever deepening appreciation of the beauty of Jesus Christ, and as He continues to stretch my view of Him.

  2. Pastor James Miller · March 28, 2013

    I had a pretty different read on Bell’s book (http://pastorjamesmiller.com/2013/03/27/oh-well-rob-bell/). Am I just being cynical?

    • marklchampion · April 3, 2013

      I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to peruse my thoughts and desire to contribute your book review on Rob Bell as a response.

      Your blog post you replied with is definitely an interesting perspective. You have been given a unique portion of Christ. I am thankful you are able to encourage folks in their faith journey. I just wanted you to know that I do not wish to banter on the blog about the content of Rob Bell’s book.

      The point of this post was not Rob Bell’s writings. The post was to encourage those who have been put in a box and aren’t necessarily interested in continuing down the same path that has been given them from their pasts.

      And that my wife and I are excited to have been married for 3 years!

      I encourage you to continue to shine your Light to those who the Lord has given you. And thanks again for reading and commenting.

  3. Jim Gregg · March 28, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your journey in Christ, I enjoy reading every post. Happy Aniversary.

  4. hectorsue23 · March 29, 2013

    “Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness…opened our eyes, let us see…”

  5. Trevor Honeycutt · March 31, 2013

    Good stuff. Gotta leave it (the system) in order to have an opportunity take it (the land that the Lord is offering).

    Lookin’ forward to reading Rob’s book, bro. Sounds good.

  6. Pingback: Top 5 from 2013 | marklchampion

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